OW. How I Cure Hangovers While Traveling

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First off, let’s get one thing straight. I HATE that so many female travel bloggers over use hyperbole and exclamation points. I’d like to get my hands on every “ultimate” guide on the internet and use them as bonfire ammo. How arrogant do you have to be to think that anything you’ve crafted is “the ultimate!”? So, I’m not going to call this your “fool proof” or “ultimate” guide to battling hangovers. I’ll just give you my anecdotal instead and hope that is helps.

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I have a lot of experience in drinking. One half of my family is Polish, my girlfriends have been known to chug vodka out of a funnel without flinching, and my family and friends through marriage are from the former Soviet Union where, as my father in law states, “mixing anything with vodka is a waste of vodka.” So, yeah. It’s going to take a lot more than a ‘grammable Bellini at lunch to get me feeling giddy. As seasoned in Bloody Mary powder as I am, I tend to suffer excruciating hangovers, the kind where a morphine drip doesn’t seem all too far fetched as a pain reliever.

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Hungover mornings usually go like this. Open your eyes, first pain, then panic. The pain? This looks like the room spinning, head throbbing, sweating, feeling as though you might faint, and both physical and mental exhaustion. The panic? WHERE ARE MY KEYS? WHERE IS MY PHONE? WHO DID I CALL?

Resolve the panic. Check to be sure that your important items are in place. Phone, wallet, keys, etc. If they are not, try not to panic. While it sucks and makes you feel irresponsible, remember that these issues are easily resolvable. You can always cancel a credit card, always order a new license, always pay a shit ton of money for a new set of car keys or phone. While it’s inconvenient and expensive, remember that these items are all replaceable and this can happen to the best of us. If you constantly lose things while drinking, you need to get your shit together for your own sake.  NEXT TIME: Make it a habit that when you use the restroom, you quickly check your purse to ensure everything is accounted for and checked. Keep things in the same pockets and places. Don’t bring all of your credit cards/cash out, and don’t bring every key you own out with you.

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The dreaded phone check. Rather than worry over it all day, get it over with right away. See what messages you sent and check your call log. If these messages were not sent by your best self, begin apologizing and mean it. Even innocuous messages like, “OMG! I love you and I’m so glad we work together!” could be seen as annoying if it woke the person up or this is not the type of relationship you have with a co-worker. Be honest. It’s embarrassing, but people appreciate honesty and there’s really nothing they can say to it either if you admit your mistake off the bat. Try, “hello. I’m so sorry for ______. I’ll be honest, I had too much to drink last night and I’m pretty embarrassed of the fact that I _______. I promise you this will never happen again, and once again, I’m sincerely sorry.” NEXT TIME: Delete anyone’s number who you have no business contacting even when sober. Get rid of old friends, ex’s, ex bosses, anyone whose number you no longer need. Thinking about texting someone? Try telling your friends what’s on your mind. Odds are, no matter how inebriated they are, they will try and talk you out of it. Try keeping your phone off so that you only use it during emergencies. Always tempted to repeatedly call or text your ex hook up? Block them for good. It’s not OK for men to stalk women and it’s not OK for women to do it either.

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Hydrate and Keep Cool. It’s going to be tempting to fall back in bed or continue sleeping, but the sleep you get will not be of quality. Instead, I recommend drinking at least two bottles of water and sipping slowly. A cold rag on the head ALWAYS helps me and blast the AC if you have it. Bonus points if you remembered to pack Pedialyte or buy Gatorade. Nothing can get resolved if you don’t hydrate!

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Ya Smelly. I remember such days when my mother would walk into my room at 11AM and tell me that my room smelled like a liquor distillery. Drinking heavily makes you smelly. Get yourself up and brush your teeth and wash your face. Even that small act will make you feel like an A list celebrity. Jump into the shower (room temp or cold) and scrub away the sweat, alcohol residue, cigarette smoke, and poorly made decisions. Finish with a blast of cold water it’s good for the body and soul. My husband actually finishes every shower like this, but it’s not good for his soul because he doesn’t have one. It’s just a block of ice with a Soviet flag on top.

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Release and Replenish. If you need to vomit, do it. I usually feel incredible after the mess in my stomach has finally come up. DO NOT LINGER INDOORS! Head outside and order some greasy ass, carb-heavy, food and don’t forget to pop your pain killer of choice. My favorite morning-after-madness foods include: bacon, eggs, cheese, hash-browns, fries, pasta, and banana shakes. If you order the fruit platter, you’re a psychopath and should seek help immediately. Sometimes it even helps, for me anyway, to have ONE alcoholic drink after eating. It’s more psychological I think. I always make sure it’s one to show myself that I have control over the alcohol and it didn’t win. Also, you don’t want to get drunk and have another hangover so soon.

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Nap. This will be the best sleep you ever get in your life. You’re hydrated, satiated, you’ve made an attempt at being a person, recompensed your behavior…you are healthy in mind, body, and spirit, (but definitely not in your liver – that shit’s probably shriveled up.)

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Some things to remember. Having too much to drink doesn’t make you a bad person. However, if your behavior while drinking nearly always results in you making decisions that put yourself or others in harm’s way, consider if getting wasted all the time is really something you need to be doing. To be honest, it’s not something anyone needs to be doing. Consider that many medical conditions (I suffer from migraines) are made significantly worse by alcohol. Sometimes it’s necessary to make the choice between drinking a little and enjoying my trip, or getting wasted and ruining it. Logically, there is no reason that having ten drinks is more fun than having three drinks. You’re not in control of the experiences you’re having, and you’re almost guaranteed to waste the entire next day.

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What I Learned: In the past year or so, I’ve taken measures to significantly be more responsible about how I drink. I follow every drink with a glass of water and I try to limit myself. I try to hang out in places that match my age demographic like lounges, friend’s new houses/apartments, or social events where the vibe is relaxed and not a pounding down drinks booze fest. I’m nearly six months pregnant and I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since August (fun fact, babies don’t like alcohol.)

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I can truly appreciate not waking up hungover on the weekend and really feeling in control of my actions and behavior at all times. I often see how people around me are behaving while drunk and while I’m glad they’re having fun, I’m also glad that I am not them in that moment. I think there were times when my anxiety would make me feel as though alcohol were a necessary crutch. Not that I always felt the need to be three sheets to the wind, but,  I needed a glass of wine in my hand to begin a conversation or to be brave enough to tell a joke to a group of people I didn’t know too well. Now, I’ve had to force myself to be bold socially while completely sober and it’s very empowering. It’s been great to know that even sober, people still laugh at my jokes, listen to what I have to say, and enjoy having a conversation. I really like it. I appreciate alcohol, but these past few months have been a blessing in that I’ve been able to re-evaluate my relationship with it as I leap into motherhood and my last year of my 20’s next year. I want to be sure that the best of me, my confidence, my social skills, my ability to articulate genuinely come from my brain and heart and not from Captain Morgan. It makes me feel better as a person to know that I have accomplished these brave endeavors, and no substance has done it for me.

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In whatever capacity you drink (or don’t), happy travels! Hoping this helps someone who needed some liquid courage before karaoke on the beach, or is simply suffering the repercussions of spending a mandatory holiday with family.  🙂

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